Group differences in physician responses to handheld presentation of clinical evidence: a verbal protocol analysis




Lottridge, Danielle M
Chignell, Mark
Danicic-Mizdrak, Romana
Pavlovic, Nada J
Kushniruk, Andre
Straus, Sharon E

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BioMed Central


Background: To identify individual differences in physicians' needs for the presentation of evidence resources and preferences for mobile devices. Methods: Within-groups analysis of responses to semi-structured interviews. Interviews consisted of using prototypes in response to task-based scenarios. The prototypes were implemented on two different form factors: a tablet style PC and a pocketPC. Participants were from three user groups: general internists, family physicians and medicine residents, and from two different settings: urban and semi-urban. Verbal protocol analysis, which consists of coding utterances, was conducted on the transcripts of the testing sessions. Statistical relationships were investigated between staff physicians' and residents' background variables, self-reported experiences with the interfaces, and verbal code frequencies. Results: 47 physicians were recruited from general internal medicine, family practice clinics and a residency training program. The mean age of participants was 42.6 years. Physician specialty had a greater effect on device and information-presentation preferences than gender, age, setting or previous technical experience. Family physicians preferred the screen size of the tablet computer and were less concerned about its portability. Residents liked the screen size of the tablet, but preferred the portability of the pocketPC. Internists liked the portability of the pocketPC, but saw less advantage to the large screen of the tablet computer (F[2,44] = 4.94, p = .012). Conclusion: Different types of physicians have different needs and preferences for evidence-based resources and handheld devices. This study shows how user testing can be incorporated into the process of design to inform group-based customization.


BioMed Central



Lottridge, D. et al. Group differences in physician responses to handheld presentation of clinical evidence BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2007, 7 :22